All of the selections are in: 1st round- Center Travis Frederick, 2nd round-Tight End Gavin Escobar, 3rd round-Receiver Terrance Williams, 3rd round-Safety J.J. Wilcox, 4th round-Cornerback B.W. Webb, 5th round-Running Back Joseph Randle and 6th round-Linebacker DeVonte Holloman.
You have heard, and will continue to hear, that the Cowboys were big losers in this draft. But says who, self-proclaimed experts that write about it? If they were being paid by an NFL team to evaluate talent their opinions would be valid, if not, then their opinion is no more valid than mine or yours. And if you are up in arms about the perceived terrible job the Cowboys did this time around, be sure it’s based on something you discovered about their selections and that you’re not just parroting someone else’s opinion.
After all, you really can’t truly grade a team’s draft until you see the selected players in action as part of the team. It seems to me we run this drill every year, where everyone with an opinion says the Cowboys had a terrible draft and then later, when we see selected players in action, such as Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray and Dwayne Harris, we see they drafted pretty well. So, when the Cowboys move back in a trade and then grab their top rated center they are subject to much ridicule. And when other teams do the same thing, it’s reportedly OK, since this player is a good fit for their system. I am sure the Cowboys feel the same about Travis Frederick and how he fits their system
Maybe he was a projected second or third round pick by many, the bottom of the first is pretty close to the second round and close enough that you better take him there if you really want him and feel he might be gone when you pick again in the middle of the second. Even if no one else does, the Cowboys know the value of the center position. We all know how terribly the offensive line played last year. The running game was horrible and Tony Romo spent a lot of time running for his life. But in his one complete game, Phil Costa at center versus the Baltimore Ravens, the Cowboys had a record day running the ball. Based on that, I think I’ll give the Cowboys the benefit of the doubt on knowing what they need to do to fix the offensive line.
How do you offset what many consider to be a reach at the bottom of the first round? You grab late first or early second round talent at wide receiver in the third round, as the Cowboys did with Baylor wide-out Terrance Williams. Some might question that pick, with Dwayne Harris picking up his game last year, but I think the selection is Miles Austin insurance more than anything else. And if you are picking the best player available, you have to take him if he’s still there. And while we are talking about receivers, Gavin Escobar appears to be a solid selection. He will need to do some work on his blocking in order to be a complete NFL tight end, but he will certainly start out as another weapon for Tony Romo in the passing game.
Jason Witten is still playing at a very high level, but at 31, it’s time for Dallas to start grooming his successor. In the meantime, if you think defensive coordinators have a difficult stopping the two tight end offense of the New England Patriots, imagine trying to stop a three tight end offense starring Witten, Escobar and James Hanna. I’m looking forward to seeing that. And that’s a break from the past. In the past, the second tight end whether it be Martellus Bennett or John Phillips, was primarily a blocker. The Cowboys will make a real effort this year to make the second tight end in the set a weapon at receiver too.
Joseph Randle is a solid pick and a great value as a fifth round selection. He really appears to mirror the talents of DeMarco Murray, a steal in his own right, having been selected in the third round. No one wants to see Murray go down, but there is reason to be more confident that the offense can keep on clicking with a quality back, such as Randle, coming in to replace him. The Cowboys selected three defensive players as well, and they all seem to be solid selections too, with the common refrain being that they are hard hitters.
Some are bemoaning the fact that the Cowboys didn’t make more defensive selections or add more offensive lineman, but if you are taking the best player available, it just doesn’t always work out that way. They can still sign free agent Eric Winston if they feel he is an upgrade over Doug Free and Jeremy Parnell. The bottom line is the Cowboys did a much better job in the 2013 draft than they will ever get credit for, at least until these players become impossible to ignore when excelling on the field of play. There should be no surprises here either, since all of the selections visited Valley Ranch before the draft.
So, if you’re in a frenzy of negativity over this draft, take a chill pill and wait to see how they look on the field of play as part of the team. That’s when we know how good their draft was, or was not.